Of a morning, one can find me on my porch, wrapped in a shawl, hands warmed by the mug of coffee.  The mourning dove on its perch seems to sing my heart, low, rhythmic, sad.  A robin trills from the tree across the meadow.  Small songbirds light on the branches, nestled among the tender leaves of spring.

In the afternoon, I drive down Jackson Slough, slightly mindless.  Wind buffets my car. I clutch the steering wheel.  A sudden strong gust sends me skittering across the pavement.  Overhead a bird of prey struggles against the draft.  I watch as the Delta winds beat him back towards the fields.  He spreads his great wings.  I signal.  I stop along the broken shoulder.  A motorcycle eases around me and continues forward.  I stretch my neck and  strain to see far above the road.  Feathers flutter.  I can’t see his eyes through my lens; but I trace the sharp edge of his beak.  He drifts back, caught on a current.  He’ll fall.  I’m sure of it.

With a mighty lunge, he dives into a tree on the other side of the slough.  The branch sways; the leaves quiver.  

A driver taps his horn as his truck moves around my car.  A long breath shudders through my body.

The wind shakes the house all night but when I wake, stillness greets me.  The sky spans soft above the park.  I never tasted anything so good as the dark hot coffee, never saw anything more beautiful than the wide arc of the sea gulls overhead.

It’s the twelfth day of the seventh-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

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